Shopping malls are the saving grace we all appreciate. However, our activities have always been linked to leisure in shopping. Not many people would think that shopping malls can also be used as a workplace. But it’s happening now. The rise of coworking culture is on its way to disrupting the $19.1 billion market of Shopping Malls in the U.S. While it may seem odd to some, the introduction of coworking spaces in shopping malls provides the latter with soft padding from the retail rebound.
But how exactly is this happening? How and why are shopping malls providing people with a place to work? The answer lies in understanding the reasons behind the growth of coworking spaces. And these reasons are many. So, let’s look at the different aspects of coworking spaces in shopping malls.
Why Do People Prefer Coworking Spaces?
The concept of remote working isn’t new. It’s always been there, though not quite as famous as it got since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While working from home provides a myriad of benefits and comfort, you may want to avoid it in the long run. Working from home can end up being draining, confined to the same four walls, while the only escape from your long-work hours is the little screen in front of you.
There are many reasons why coworking spaces are better than WFH. The most prominent is that they not only provide remote workers and telecommuters with an alternative to the mundane four-walls but also turn the corner on productivity. In addition to a flexible workplace, you get to meet people from all walks of life, and stimulate each other’s creativity. And when brilliant ideas collide, your project becomes better, your business plan flourishes, and you grow your network of contacts and associates.
Moreover, digital nomadism also plays a crucial part in the growth of coworking spaces. Telecommuters have quickly adapted to the digital nomad lifestyle on a massive scale, providing some countries with a notable source of tourism revenue. The demand for coworking spaces also spiked, with flexible lifestyle on the rise. People from all ends of the world got a chance to have a non–disruptive workplace, along with the liberty to escape the typical office culture. Furthermore, the coworking spaces are changing the conventional office setup, and it’s becoming a key aspect in attracting more talent and collaborations.
Coworking Spaces in Shopping Malls is a Win-Win
The retail industry has always been dominant in the tenant mix of shopping mall spaces. However, with e-commerce on the rise, more and more retail spaces are now vacant in shopping malls. In April 2020, retail sales in the U.S. plunged 16.4%, continuing their downward trend since the pandemic shook the global economy. This has allowed landlords to look for other options to fill the space.
This is where coworking spaces came into the game. It can not only fill the vacant retail space but also increase the number of visitors in shopping malls, which eventually benefits the retail tenants that did manage to hang on.
It’s a win-win for both coworking space providers and landlords. The former gets an opportunity to expand their business without much hassle, and the latter can fill their vacant spaces with long-term, sustainable, and productive tenants.
The format of coworking in malls
According to a recent whitepaper from Jones Lang LaSalle, coworking spaces fall into four categories:
- Retail Launchpads: Startups rent retail spaces, allowing both coworkers and shoppers to coexist in a relaxed environment.
- Business Boosters: The boosters or accelerators provide creative support, consultancies, and business grooming classes to help early startups.
- Creative Coalition: It’s perfect for artists looking to expand their creative spectrum.
- Telework Hubs: Popular and well-serving telework hubs are ideal for telecommuters, where they get workspace on demand and conference facilities for rent.
Coworking spaces in shopping malls mean more coworkers
The symbiosis of coworking spaces and shopping malls has given rise to a successful relationship. The coworking spaces benefit well from the stream of customers in the shopping malls: shoppers going to the mall might be the first audience for young businesses that are members of the coworking environment.
This alone is almost free advertising and a very impactful strategy, at that. The coworking spaces that offer free demos or any promotional benefits to walk-ins may even attract more customers to the mall.
Moreover, the possibility of collaborating with brands inside the mall also contributes to the coworking space revenue. Collaborative offers, customer referrals, gift cards, etc., can send even the unwilling customers to give coworking spaces a try.
Coworkers become customers for brands inside malls
Likewise, coworkers who spend their time in the spaces are bound to take breaks or just hang out or get their errands done in the mall before or after work. That gives them the opportunity to wander and become shoppers themselves. Retail and dining tenants in the mall, in turn, benefit greatly from having a good chunk of prospective buyers in sight on the mall premises.
The collaboration mentioned above between brands and coworking spaces can also present a lucrative opportunity for brands to increase sales. Various offers and discounts for coworkers from a particular coworking space can tempt coworkers to make a purchase and even become returning customers.
Coworking Space and Shopping Mall is a Long Lasting Marriage
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many brands to shutter their stores and offices. However, it has also given landlords an opportunity to rethink their tenant mix. The coworking spaces in shopping malls are a step in the right direction that offers many benefits for all stakeholders – coworking space operators, mall owners, customers, and brands.
Moreover, mall owners need to be proactive in reaching out to coworking space operators and starting a conversation. Coworking space operators, in turn, have many reasons to consider malls as a viable expansion option.
Further, the fact that telecommuters and digital nomads are looking to work in a cooperative and flexible environment gives great hope for this trend. Moreover, startups and artists with projects can always use temporary and affordable office spaces. And the extras that come with being in a shopping mall, like nearby eateries, shops, games, etc., attract a lot of coworkers for the added convenience.
All things considered, it’s safe to say that this trend is here to stay. It can also be expected to rise with time, as telecommuting and remote work gain more and more traction.